AN acclaimed author has returned to her roots after it was announced she had been made the new chancellor of Essex University.

Author Dr Sarah Perry has taken up the mantle following former Commons speaker John Bercow stepping down in 2021 having served more than four years in the role.

The university has said the “significant appointment marks a momentous occasion" as it "strengthens its commitment to academic excellence, creativity and the arts, ahead of its 60th anniversary in 2024”.

Dr Perry, who was born in Chelmsford, is recognised for her outstanding literary achievements and captivating storytelling, including her number one best-seller The Essex Serpent, inspired by the history and landscape of her home county.

The story, which follows widow Cora Seaborne, who moves to the county to investigate reports of a mythical serpent, was adapted into a TV series for Apple TV last year.

Stars such as Tom Hiddleston and Claire Danes were spotted filming in Essex locations such as backwaters of Alresford Creek and marshes near the River Blackwater.

With a multi-award-winning career spanning numerous critically acclaimed books, Dr Perry has earned a prominent place in the literary world, inspiring readers with her thought-provoking narratives and distinctive voice.

"It is a great honour to be appointed as the Chancellor of the University of Essex," she said.

"I am very proud to be an Essex girl - the history, landscape and spirit of Essex are all lodged in my heart and at the centre of my work, and so I’m excited to contribute to the university's rich academic heritage and share in its future.

“I’m immensely looking forward to supporting and inspiring students, encouraging them all to unleash their creative potential, and fostering an environment where intellectual curiosity thrives."

Vice-chancellor of the university Professor Anthony Forster added: “I am delighted to welcome Dr Sarah Perry as our new chancellor.

“As chancellor Sarah will oversee graduation ceremonies and act as an ambassador and champion for the university’s work.

“Her literary achievements and deep connection to Essex will inspire our students, faculty, and wider community. Sarah is someone who loves the history and culture of Essex and has weaved it into the heart of her creative work.”